Sponsorship

Sponsorship

Scholarships awarded through National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) programs are regarded as some of the highest academic honors attainable by U.S. high school students. Last year NMSC awarded scholarships valued at more than $42 million to over 8,500 qualified students. Although NMSC underwrites more than a quarter of the scholarships with its own funds, most awards are provided by independent sponsor organizations.

  • Corporations sponsor scholarships to recognize and encourage academically talented students, foster employee loyalty, initiate promising relationships with students, and identify potential candidates for internships and employment.
  • Colleges and universities eagerly seek to enroll scholastically able students who have outstanding potential for future leadership. Many higher education institutions sponsor Merit Scholarship® awards for Finalists who will attend their institutions.

Currently, about 230 corporations, company foundations, and businesses and approximately 190 colleges and universities provide National Merit Scholarship Corporation scholarships. All funds provided to NMSC by sponsors are used for scholarships and are tax-deductible contributions.

Corporate Sponsorship

NMSC conducts scholarship programs for corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations. Most corporate-sponsored awards are designated for children of a sponsor's employees or members. However, some are offered for residents of a community where a company has operations or for students with college major or career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. NMSC services for sponsors include:

  • identifying candidates who meet a sponsor's criteria and processing applications,
  • processing Entry Forms (online and hard copy) for scholarship program participants,
  • selecting scholarship winners from the candidate pool,
  • assisting with Scholar announcements,
  • providing certificates to present to Scholars,
  • distributing scholarship payments to Scholars, and
  • monitoring and reporting on the progress of Scholars toward completion of their undergraduate degrees.

Each sponsor announces its program, confirms eligibility of award winners, and pays scholarship costs. Sponsors are billed annually for scholarship costs, which include stipend amounts paid to winners and nominal grants that are used to underwrite National Merit® $2500 Scholarships for which all Finalists are considered. These grants are provided to NMSC by the sponsor in lieu of paying any administrative fees. Additionally, some sponsors recognize Scholars at a special event and/or in company publications.

The number of scholarships a company, business, or foundation offers annually may range from one to more than 100. Within guidelines established by NMSC, corporate sponsors select the monetary arrangements for the scholarships they finance. They also decide whether to offer awards that may be renewed for up to four years of undergraduate study (renewable scholarships) or one-time scholarships.

Companies and other business organizations annually underwrite some 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship® awards for Finalists in the National Merit® Scholarship Program and about 1,200 Special Scholarships for program participants who are outstanding but are not Finalists. Sponsors that provide Special Scholarships in addition to their Merit Scholarship awards are able to offer a fixed number of awards in each competition, even though the number of Finalists eligible for their awards varies from year to year. More than two-thirds of corporate sponsors use NMSC's services to complement their Merit Scholarship awards with Special Scholarships. A Special Scholarship candidate must meet a sponsor's criteria and file the sponsor's Entry Form, as well as meet entry requirements of the National Merit Program.

For more information about becoming a corporate sponsor and the benefits of sponsorship, click here.  (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.) 

NMSC Corporate Contact:
Nancy A. Bogart
Executive Director of Sponsor Services
(847) 866-5121

College and University Sponsorship of Merit Scholarship® Awards

Each year colleges and universities support about 4,000 Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who have been admitted to and will attend their institutions. Only Finalists who notify NMSC by the published deadlines of their plans to attend a sponsor institution are considered for college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

College-sponsored awards are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study at the sponsor institution and provide stipends that range between $500 and $2,000 per year. Officials of each sponsor college select winners for their awards and determine the amount of the annual stipend within the specified range. College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards are canceled if the winner decides not to attend the college financing the scholarship.

NMSC College Contact:
Rose M. Northon
College Services Coordinator
(847) 866-5124

Featured Scholars
George N. Pandya
George N. Pandya
Endlessly curious and exceptionally innovative, George N. Pandya says, “I am always thrilled to immerse myself in a fascinating new problem, learning something new, whether I fail or succeed.” George received three associate’s degrees as a dual-enrollment student before graduating from high school, and his passion for learning has enabled him to gain experience both in the academic sphere and the workplace.
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Natalie M. Johnson
Natalie M. Johnson
The youngest of six sisters, Natalie M. Johnson has experienced the financial strain that often accompanies a quality education. “Winning a National Achievement Scholarship,” she says, “was very moving for me because it meant for the first time in my life I could pursue my academic passions without stress caused by limited finances.” Natalie iterates, “very real social barriers prevent other low-income students from achieving the same things as I have.” She intends to use her education to give back to others.
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Isaiah J. Drummond
Isaiah J. Drummond
Isaiah J. Drummond was inspired to combine his interests in biology and mechanical engineering after attending the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Sciences (MITES) summer program through Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MITES, he won the Edna and Leon Trilling Award for Overall Academic Excellence, completed research at the Broad Institute for Genomics, and interviewed professionals at the Boston Medical Center. These activities motivated him to “work diligently to leave a positive, lasting impact on the world.” Isaiah asserts,“I hope to discover new ways to fight against ailments” and “use my knowledge and skills to increase public awareness of diseases and encourage others to join the fight.”
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Amy T. Sun
Amy T. Sun
While attending Johns Hopkins University, Amy T. Sun pursued a double degree in biomedical engineering and engineering mechanics. She gained valuable laboratory experience at several internships, including two at the National Institutes of Health, and worked as a research assistant in the systems biology laboratory at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Amy is passionate about “solving problems and understanding how the world works” and is grateful for her scholarship, which helped her partake in study abroad opportunities.
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Laurel M. Wright
Laurel M. Wright
Laurel M. Wright is the 2016 recipient of the National Merit John M. Stalnaker Memorial Scholarship, which is given each year to an outstanding National Merit Finalist planning to pursue a career in mathematics or science. This four-year award is underwritten by NMSC in honor of its founding President and Chief Executive Officer, who recognized a need for increased support of science and math in America. Laurel is attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she plans to turn her dream of becoming a theoretical physicist into a reality.
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